The 2018 college football season provides a lot of intrigue at the quarterback position. After Baker Mayfield, Josh Rosen, Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, and Lamar Jackson all left for the NFL, it left a slight void in talent under center. But what is college football without a little bit of uncertainty?
There are plenty of quarterbacks that could have breakout seasons in 2018 and who knows? Maybe this crop is better than we think.
The Heisman Trophy every year has a quarterback or multiple quarterbacks involved in the running, and we very well could see any of these guys on the list below hoisting the coveted trophy. So, let’s take a look at the top ten quarterbacks entering the 2018 season.
10. Tua Tagovailoa – Alabama Crimson Tide
Alabama quarterback Tua Tagovailoa burst onto the college football scene in a big way during the second half of the national championship leading the Tide to a comeback victory over the Georgia Bulldogs. Tagovailoa threw the game-winning touchdown in overtime to cement himself in Bama lore.
He enters the 2018 season as the favorite to win the job over Jalen Hurts as Bama’s top signal caller. Tagovailoa has enormous upside, a cannon arm, and hits receivers in tight windows with great anticipation. Expect Tagovailoa to shoot up this list by seasons end.
9. Ryan Finley – NC State WolfPack
Ryan Finley is the prototypical quarterback that projects exceptionally well at the NFL level. The Wolfpack’s quarterback has all the tools to work himself into the first round of next years NFL Draft. Finley has good size, a very strong arm, is accurate and runs a pro-style offense. NC State lost a lot from last season’s team, and Finley will be called upon to carry them in 2018.
8. Jake Fromm – Georgia Bulldogs
Jake Fromm entered last season as the backup quarterback behind Jacob Eason; he ended the season as an SEC champion and a runner-up in the national championship. The SEC certainly is not a friendly conference for quarterbacks, but the poise and confidence of Fromm has Georgia in position to repeat as the conference champs and seek revenge in the College Football Playoffs.
As impressive as Fromm was last season, look for him to take a giant step forward this season, as he will be asked to do more with the departures of Nick Chubb and Sony Michel from the Bulldogs backfield.
7. McKenzie Milton – UCF Knights
McKenzie Milton flourished under Scott Frost’s offensive system last season en route to leading UCF to an undefeated season. However, Frost has taken his playbook to Lincoln, Nebraska as the Cornhuskers head coach. With Josh Heupel taking over for Frost, Milton will operate an offensive scheme that should generate BIG numbers. It remains to be seen if the Knights can continue with their nation-leading winning streak, but one thing is for sure, Milton will have a huge statistical season.
6. Drew Lock – Missouri Tigers
Drew Lock is possibly the most unpredictable quarterback on this list. He has all the talent in the world but at times has underperformed against quality FBS opponents. If you take a peek at his numbers from last season they are eye-popping. I mean 44 touchdowns are nothing to scoff at, and Lock has produced the second most touchdowns over the past two seasons only behind the next guy on our list Trace McSorley. Lock is all but assured to be a first-round pick next season in the NFL Draft.
5. Trace McSorley – Penn State Nittany Lions
If you listen to a lot of people around the college football game, they are very high on Penn State‘s signal caller Trace McSorley. Part of this has to do with many big names departing for the NFL this offseason, but the other part is he has been highly productive under center for the Nittany Lions.
McSorley has led the Lions to back-to-back 11 win seasons and has produced the most touchdowns over those two seasons in the nation. But, in 2018 there will be no Saquon Barkley and defenses will now gameplan to stop McSorley. We’ll see if a lot of this offseason hype is warranted real soon.
4. Brian Lewerke – Michigan State Spartans
Michigan State always seems to have those real solid, consistent, lunch pail type of guys that just win. And current quarterback Brian Lewerke fits that mold and just might be the best quarterback the Spartans have had under Mike Dantonio.
Michigan State knows exactly what it will get from Lewerke, he won’t turn the ball over, he’ll display poise, and he will win at least ten games again. Lewerke could turn himself into a terrific NFL prospect this season.
3. Shea Patterson – Michigan Wolverines
Shea Patterson has had a pretty hectic college career. He committed to Ole Miss out of the IMG Academy in Florida as the top-rated quarterback. Once he arrived in Oxford though, the program became shrouded in controversy as Huge Freeze, and his staff committed various violations, and the NCAA responded with multiple sanctions.
The NCAA ruled Patterson eligible immediately after transferring to Michigan in a massive victory for the Wolverines. Jim Harbaugh finally has a dynamic quarterback that will absolutely take off under his tutelage. Patterson by seasons end will have something to say in the Heisman race.
2. Jarrett Stidham – Auburn Tigers
Jarrett Stidham got plenty of experience last season navigating his way through the SEC’s treacherous waters. He ended the 2017 season as the SEC leader in completion percentage at 66.7%. Head coach Gus Malzahn should be thanking his lucky stars that Stidham wound up in Auburn. With Stidham’s ability to stretch the field with his downfield passing and an arm that can fit the ball into tight windows, this version of the Tigers offense will be deadly.
1. Will Grier – West Virginia Mountaineers
West Virginia’s quarterback Will Grier is the best in the nation, and I don’t only mean at his position, but Grier is the frontrunner to win this year’s Heisman Trophy. Grier has had an up and down college career, with most of the headaches being of his own doing, but he put all the negativity behind him last season in Morgantown. Grier is the engine that makes the West Virginia offense go; he plays with a type of swagger that the rest of the team feeds off. The 2018 version of Will Grier should scare every opposing defense in his path. Don’t be surprised if by seasons end Grier has West Virginia in the college football playoffs.